Background Reading and Memorable Quotes

Some memorable quotations

  • Bishop Michael Marshall once famously said:

Only an episcopate stripped of its prelacy
And a priesthood stripped of its clericalism
can really set the laity free from churchiness
and help them to be the priestly people of God
for the sake of the whole world.

  • Stewart C. Zabriskie, in ‘Total Ministry’ (The Alban Institute 1995), envisages the local church as a ministering community’, rather than ‘a community gathered round a minister’.
  • Two important quotations from Archbishop Rowan Williams:

"There is no church without the clergy equipping and enabling, serving the laity, whose task it is to fulfil the mission of the church."

"If you don’t know what the clergy are for, you won’t have real laity."

  • And another:   Asked by aspiring theologians what his vision for the Church was, Archbishop Rowan Williams replied:  

“A vision of people meeting in small groups in living rooms, with open Bibles, helping one another to be grown-up Christian people, supporting, nourishing each other (in spite of what the Church wants it to be).”

Web Sites on 'Ministering Communities'

New Way of Being Church: Former members of this little group are still available to lead workshops developing our understanding of Base Ecclesial Communities in the UK context. Their web site includes useful group study ideas on the theme of 'ministering communities':

The Diocese of Newcastle - in Australia - also includes study material on 'ministering communities' on its web site. It is open to debate whether its disciplines are as radical as those set out in Stewart Zabriskie's 'Total Ministry' in the Diocese of Nevada:


A Booklist for those willing to think laterally about ministry

  • ‘If you meet George Herbert on the road, kill him – radically re-thinking priestly ministry’ by Justin Lewis-Anthony:
  • "How to be a bad Christian, and a Better Human Being" by Dave Tomlinson
  • "Transforming Communities: Re-imagining the Church for the 21st Century" by Steven Croft
  • "Ministry in three dimensions" by Steven Croft
  • "Together: How small groups achieve big things"  by Henry Hemming

For something more substantial:

In the summer 2012 issue of CAM (Cambridge University’s alumni magazine) Dr Rowan Williams named the following as his proposed holiday reading:

Richard Sennett's Together: the Rituals, Pleasure and Politics of Co-operation (Allen Lane) - described as "a typically lucid and wonderfully wide-ranging essay on those things that are only enjoyed by being enjoyed together - a major contribution to current questionings about society and economics."

And Simon Critchley's The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology (Verso) - assessed as being "in a different league of sophistication from most recent attempts to define what acceptable residue might be distilled from traditional religion in a contemporary political ethic."

Archbishop Rowan comments: Both offer crisp and bold proposals about how we urgently need to rethink what we are taking for granted about human flourishing.